Alpkit New CoLab 0Hiro belay jacket.

The 0Hiro jacket is the latest in our line of CoLab projects, selling them cheaper in return for your good comments.. or bad....

0Hiro Synthetic Jacket.   © Alpkit
0Hiro Synthetic Jacket.
© Alpkit

This time around it's a synthetic belay jacket. Despite never getting really hot or really cold, lovers of the great outdoors know that the UK's weather ranks amongst the most unreliable and demanding in the world. There is no better example of this than at 0°c where water gets so cold it turns to ice, and ice gets so warm that it turns to water. A damp 0°c can feel as cold as -20°c when the wind is blowing, and a few frozen hours on a belay ledge may leave you regretting your choice to travel light. It is times like these that you could be forgiven for throwing it all in and moving to Spain, or to start walking around gear shops looking at the warmest jacket money can buy. My first time on Craig yr Isfa one wintery day saw me the next Saturday in Ellis Brighams drooling over a 80s Mountain Equipment Fitzroy, sod the weight.. it was waterproof and warm. Shame it was way more than my bar work budget could justify.

The development of the 0Hiro is important to us, we really want to get a garment like this right. I'm pretty sure the basics are already sorted but it's the little things we need to work on to make it a really great jacket. How big does the hood need to be without being too big? Are the cuffs wide enough or will that extra 5mm mean you can squeeze your gauntlets through easier. These are the nuances that make a good jacket into a great jacket and one that we won't need to tinker with for a while. We could of course do all this ourselves but invariably this means that the design gets tweaked around our own experiences, our own body shapes.

Here's a quick run through the main features:

1. Toray Nylon Fabric

We have used the same fabric as we have been using for our PipeDream sleeping bags, it has been proven to be light, tough and has a decent DWR.

2. The Cut

A belay jacket is designed to be oversized to fit over the top of all your other layers so it may appear baggy when you are not wearing those layers!

3. Helmet Hood

At the moment the hood fits over a Petzl Meteor so I am happy that it is big enough. However it would be good to get some feed back on a larger number of body shapes and helmet types. Does it stop spin drift blowing down your neck and hail beating your nose?

4. Pockets

Only three at the moment; two big ones on the outside and one zippered on the inside. Can you get your gloves in the pockets? Are the accessible enough when wearing a harness or rucksack?

  • Weight: Small 523g, Medium 555g, Large 568g, XLarge 629g
  • 100% Nylon 15d x 25d ripstop using a “farrilo” hollow core yarn. It weighs just 29 g/m2
  • 150g/m2 Non branded synthetic

Initial feedback is that you may want to size up from your normal, more everyday jacket. You don't even have to be a climber to appreciate this jacket, we've already had it being used as a change over jacket in the recent Mountain Mayhem 24 hour mtb race.

So what do you think is needed to make the perfect belay jacket? Please feel free to discuss your ideas in the linked forum thread.

For more information visit Alpkit

23 Jun, 2009
Clone the Patagonia DAS Parka, and I don't think you'd go far wrong. In fact, I think it is close to perfect. Mine's lava orange, and I love the colour too. Totally essential to have bright photogenic colours, and no drab tones that imitate rock or moss.
23 Jun, 2009
lightness, squashability and warmth. Winter means a big, heavy bag carried for endless miles - i don't want half of it taken up by a coat that i only need to use once i'm on route. A hood that'll go over my helmet is important, and it shouldn't flop around too much. a good waterproof DWR would be good
23 Jun, 2009
-) It's all about the hood - but I'm pretty certain that the Alpkit guys have that covered. It should go over both a helmet and shell or shoftshell hood I reckon. The price (even without the co-lab discount) is superb. Only possible competition at that price is the Decathlon one (I grabbed one for a mate, who didn't have a dedicated belay jacket, at Xmas on sale for 30 quid when I happened to be in Decathlon in Merry Hill. He says it's superb for ice climbing). I think Alpkit are onto a winner here - the type of gear that by being so reasonably priced and hence available may well save a life or two.
23 Jun, 2009
Holy hotaches batman that's cheap! I want: big pockets, long sleeves, big elasticated wrists I can put gloved hands through, big glove friendly zip pulls, a big but face covering hood that turns somewhat when I turn my head (a snorkel design like my old school parka with a wide neck and some clearence around the face might work - put the zip in at the bottom, keep zipping it up until all you can see are my eyes), a large mesh internal pocket might be good- slightly elastic rim, not sure I need a zip pocket there though, it needs to be as warm as possible when its wet and cold but as light as It can be, highly compressible - a good fit for a standard size of popular brand of waterproof stufsack might be good. In short I wan the earth. This is the thing I reach for when the world is against me and I need to pull on something over the top of all the cr*p I'm already wearing and breathe a sigh of relief as I belay or settle down for a long wait in an awkward spot. If its for wearing overnight or sitting down a little reinforcement where it goes over my butt might be nice so that what I'm sitting on doesn't get trashed. Hell at that price I might buy one to use (definition of my use of outdoor kit- abuse, destroy, wear out in a season) this winter (even though I have a marmot one I got at a good price late last season already). Go Alpkit! Al
23 Jun, 2009
The hood is most important. It needs to be super big, big enough for a large helmet like the Ecrin. The hood needs to zip up to nose level, amd it needs to come far enough forward to cover the front of you head. It should synch down to just an eye slit. The hood on the Patagonia DAS does this, but PHD's Zeta doesn't. Other than that the sleeves need to be super wide. In my view they should use a velcro cuff, rather than an elasticated cuff. This from expirence of trying to get my Zeta onto a concussed and hypothermic casualtiy. It was breeze with the Zeta's velcro cuffs, comparted to trying with a friend's Patagonia jacket, which featured elastic cuffs. A poachers pouch is pretty useful for drying gloves and storing belay mitts. It would be pretty silly to not make it with one of these. Also I can't imagine your belay jacket will be warm enough for full on winter. It only weighs 550 grams, whearas the Patagonia DAS and PHD Zeta weigh closer to a kilo. I'm sure it will be a great jacket, but perhaps more appropreiate for summer alpinism and cragging. HTH
More Comments

Product News at UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment posts that will be of interest to our readers. Please feel free to comment about the post and products on the associated thread.